Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's the day after the Hurricane passed by and our generators ran until about 4PM, that means the power was still off in our area. I shouldn't complain, because, even though the power was off, we had power, via the generator. Many people on the island were without power and water for over 24 hours. As we got out and about we did see that there was quite a bit of damage in the manner of downed trees and power poles, fortunately there didn't appear to be much structural damage to homes(some of the other islands had a lot more). Our pool was pretty full of palm fonds and various types of foliage. Mike, the guy who cares for the pool here, spent most of the day getting it back in order.

The storm certainly gives me pause to think. I know that our prayers were answered and we were blessed by it passing so far to the north of us. I am grateful for our home and although there were many unpleasant things about the storm, we really didn't have it bad at all (especially by comparison). There are so many things that could have been worse. Our major loss was the cable TV, it went off early yesterday, and still hasn't come back, since we don't watch it much, it isn't a great loss to us (but we do like to tune into the weather channel, to see what's up next).

I'm so grateful that Macy and Rachel left when they did. Of course, Rick was watching the weather and if this had been threatening we would have sent them home early. Flights in and out were cancelled from late Sunday until Tuesday afternoon.

Rick went out to the Job Site today, but the contractor never showed. Rick called him and he didn't have power at his shop, so he sent his crews home. He was worried about the next storm, Fiona, and not sure when he would be back on the job. Fiona is only a Tropical Storm, still far to our east. It is expected to go far to our north and to not strengthen above a Tropical Storm, so Rick is trying to motivate the contractor to get back on the job. If he doesn't work, neither do we and needless to say, we don't get paid. For an easy job, that is only part-time with time and a half pay, it sure gets complicated. I guess Rick will be earning his paycheck, in more ways than expected.

Reflecting on my calling, especially with respect to the upcoming changes in our Branch. I wish they would just move ahead with the changes, so I know exactly what I will be doing and how to proceed. There is so much to be done, and everything has to be done so delicately and slowly. I do see the importance to helping the people who are already here, learn how and why certain things are done. I do believe that if they are truly invested in the Gospel and feel needed, they will progress. If they really learn how things are supposed to work they can truly govern themselves. I'm just not sure what my part in helping this to come about is. Ok, OK I guess I need to keep praying. I need to pray for guidance and for patience(diligent perseverance).

Well that's it for today. I need to get to bed and put my leg up. It has been swollen for 3 days for no apparent reason, and it hurts. Rick thinks it may have to do with the barometric pressure, I'm trying to drink gallons of water and keep it elevated to see if that will help. This is getting boring.

Monday, August 30, 2010

This is my final post for Monday, 30 August 2010. We made is through Hurricane Earl. It passed pretty far to the north of us, so it really wasn't too bad. Most of the island has been without power all day and probably won't have any until tomorrow. It is a blessing to live in a complex with their own generator, it has been running all day. we had the hurricane shutters closed up for most of the day and it was eerie to be inside this "bat cave" but we were safe. We had also brought everything off the two decks into the house, so the back bedroom is "standing room only". The most amazing part was the ocean, the swells were tremendous and the breakers were just as impressive. I'm posting some pictures but they really don't show you what it was like.

We know our prayers were answered by this storm passing us by. A great big thank you to all of you who remembered us in yours. Pray is important and they are answered.

Today is the 31st anniversary of my mother's passing. No matter how long, I still miss her, especially as I play with my grandchildren, I so wish she could have held her great-grand children here on the earth. It leaves me to wonder if I will know great-grandchildren.

Next up, Tropical Storm Fiona. She is still pretty far out, so far, on the same path as Earl. The projections are that it will pass us by to the north again and it will only be at Tropical Storm strength, they are saying Thursday. Let's hope and pray for the best. By the way Earl is a major storm and headed for the US East Coast, right now it looks like it's taking a bead on Washington D.C., let's pray for the folks in the states, nobody needs that kind of destruction.

Schools won't open on the island until Wednesday, everyone is in clean up and damage control mode now. The pool at our complex is loaded with debris, mostly leaves and vegetation, but they will have their work cut out for them cleaning that up.

Good night all, Keep praying.
3:18PM we got the Internet back, so I thought I would post an update. Storm is still not past us, but a little bit west yet, seems it's taking a curve to the direct west instead of heading north as projected. Hasn't been too bad here. The swells on the ocean are tremendous and the breakers at the shore are enormous. Some thunder and lightening not mot near as much rain as expected, good stiff wind but again not as bad as expected. We may still see a little bit worse as it passes by. The power has been off since early this morning, but thank goodness for the generator at the condo, it has been running steady. Hopefully we will post more tonight, as it is to our east. Still praying. Pray for Haiti, if it continues directly west, it won't be good for them. Hope the rest of the island is safe. Took some pictures, but they really don't show much. Will post them later.
Hurricane Earl is almost here. A Category 2 Hurricane that should pass to the north of us. It looks like St Thomas and St John may take an almost direct hit. They are expecting the worst to be between noon and 6PM. At 8 this morning the Governor came on the radio and closed all of the schools(today was to be the first day) and the government. They did ask for the staff at the schools and the government to come in and secure the buildings. They have frozen prices on all essentials on the island(what a novel idea~no gouging) and asked people to pray(another novel idea~especially coming from the government). It's pretty bad out, but not so scary. Patio doors in the upstairs are shuttered, but we're waiting on the downstairs, want to be able to see out and this is more protected, we'll probably close those shutters if it gets worse around noon. They are reporting trees and power poles down around the island, but none of that where we can see. We've got a good radio broadcast, with up to the minute news, but the TV stations are down. There is another tropical wave out in the Atlantic that they are expecting to develop by Thursday, so we could be in for a double this week.

I'll try to post more later and record this as it happens, but I don't know how long we'll have Internet. I have been praying all night and will keep on, pray for us and our island.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Trying to get my thoughts together to sit down and blog. Yesterday, we set the alarm for 3:50 am, I woke up at 3:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. We had to take the girls to the airport for a 6 o'clock flight. It was early enough and everyone was groggy enough that it wasn't to openly emotional. On the way home as it was starting to get light, we decided to go to Point Udall and watch the sun come up. Point Udall is the eastern most point in the US (territories, that is) and the first place the sun touches. Sunrise was beyond incredible, of course there I was without my camera, but that image will be burned on my heart for a long long time. Stopped at the Blue Water Terrace for some pastry and home for breakfast on the deck.

Spent the rest of Saturday doing some laundry, lazing around the house and in general feeling kind of lonely. We had two weeks of a house full of people, especially a four year old and now it seemed pretty quiet and basically lonely. Went down to the pool in the afternoon. Rachel called to say they had safely landed in SLC and that she lost her phone on the plane, but while we were on the phone they found her and told her that they found her phone, so all was well. I did manage to stay up until 9:30pm after falling asleep on the couch, when Rachel called to say she was safely in her home in Ririe, Idaho. Went to bed feeling good that we had a wonderful visit and that they had gotten safely home.

Had a horrible nights sleep, my legs were really bothering me, cramps and my right leg was aching(my old sciatic nerve thing). I was having strange dreams, couldn't really remember them, but strange. At one point I must have been dreaming because I thought Rachel was calling me, it was so real that I went into the back bedroom to check on her(of course she had gone home). The really strange thing, was that, the night before she asked me if I was calling her, either right after we went to bed or early in the morning because she heard me calling. I wonder if it was the power of suggestion or are we more connected in some way than I had thought. I have to say that I felt that we had a wonderful visit, I felt really close to Rachel and that we had some nice talks.

This morning I was somewhat apprehensive about church, wondering what exactly was going to happen with all of the changes that had been outlined by the Mission President. Not to fear, nothing really happened and in a way I was disappointed. While change is scary to some extent, I am also excited about the changes that have been outlined and wondering where I will fit into the flow of things. I'm reluctant to get too carried away in my calling while it appears that I will be released shortly. I suppose it's important to carry on until things actually change and just see what happens.

We are watching the weather change throughout this afternoon as Hurricane Earl approaches. All of the models show it going to the North of St. Thomas, so we are told to expect Tropical Storm conditions, as we should only see action from the outer bands of the storm. The barometric pressure is dropping as the storm approaches and Rick has suggested that maybe that is what is causing my leg to swell and put pressure on my sciatic nerve. It's time to batten down the hatches and gather things from off the decks and store them in the house. I suppose we will know when we should close up the Hurricane Shutters and turn the AC on. The condo complex has a generator so hopefully we shouldn't be out of power for too long. I'm still praying that it will turn off to the North and be further from us than expected, but so far it hasn't turned as much as predicted to even take it North of St. Thomas.

Keep praying for us and St. Croix. I have to say that while I have some apprehension, I'm not too scared, I put my trust in the Lord. I know He brought us here, so I trust He will protect us. I do pray that our little island will not see too much devastation, and as always I pray that Haiti can escape the storm all together. Rick just went to take the trash out and the condo management has taken up all the trash barrels. The chaise lounges at the pool are all put away, everything is tied down or put up. I pray also that our island car will be OK. We have parked it in the center of the parking lot between other cars, so as to afford as much protection as possible(we carry only liability insurance).

Hopefully we will have Internet service and I will write more tomorrow. I promise to get back on as soon as possible. Keep praying for all who are in harms way.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Had an absolutely amazing day with Rachel and Macy. We started out in the pool and then went to the beach, two beaches actually. First we went to the beach at the Carambola Resort, it was glorious but there is no reef and the swells were breaking so hard we really couldn't get in the water. Rachel, of course, got in but it was too much for even her. So we went back to Cane Bay, big swells there also but the breakers weren't so bad. Had a nice time bobbing in the waves. SEE PICTURES AT THE LEFT. Rachel and Macy tried to snorkel but the water was real murky from all the sand being churned up. I think these conditions in the Caribbean Sea are directly related to Hurricane Danielle, even though it is far from our shores it still has an affect on the sea.

We are watching Tropical Storm Earl closely, some of the models show that it may come "too close for comfort". I am glad that Rachel and Macy will be safely back in Idaho before it gets too close. We choose to live here and will take whatever comes, but they shouldn't have to. The tropical depressions are lining up across Africa and the Atlantic so we will keep praying that they all become "fish storms" and do not make landfall anywhere. We certainly hope not to see that, and I worry so much about Haiti. The conditions there are such that even a minor Hurricane or Tropical Storm could be devastating.

Last night the Mission President came over from Puerto Rico to set Rick apart as the Elders Quorum President, we had a nice visit with him before. He is a most dynamic man with an incredible Spirit. He spent two hours with the leaders of the Branch doing a training and explaining changes they are making here on St. Croix. I really believe in the changes he is calling for. I know these people can be self sustaining if they are given the chance and taught what they must do. It looks as though I will be released at the 1st Counsellor in the Relief Society, I may be called as a teacher or something else, whatever the Lord wants me to do, I am ready. He is calling for there to be one Axillary made up of the Relief Society President(as the President) with the Young Women's President as the 1st Counsellor and the Primary President as the 2nd Counsellor with a Secretary to serve them. They want us to go out and find the less and inactive and bring them back, then we will be ready to find new persons for the missionaries to teach. Also, the local people need to be able to run the Branch themselves without depending on the Missionaries. The Mission President told Rick and I that we are Cruzans now and a part of that local leadership. It's a little scary.

We did hear that the Babcocks will be leaving sometime in the next two months. The Mission President doesn't want the Senior Couples to serve in one area more than six months, so the members don't get to dependent on them. While this is probably a good idea for all of us, I was so looking forward to having them here to help lead and guide us over the next two years, not to mention the friendship they extend to Rick and I , has been very comforting and made a lot of the adjustments easier( they are like us and from the same part of the world that we come from). Anyway we will cope, but now we need your prayers more than ever.

I am so grateful that Rachel and her family were able to come a visit at this time. Originally, I was a little worried about the timing. Rick just started working and financially we were a little strapped to be hosting company, but they pitched right in and bought groceries and helped out with everything. It was so good to see them and spend time with Macy. I hope it won't be too hard to let them go tomorrow.

The need for prayer is even greater now. Prayer for my family, prayer for my Branch and prayer for myself and Rick. I know we can do this, we want to do this and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord wants us to do this.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ok, I'm becoming the Queen of "just shoot me" moments. It is seriously ceasing to be funny. On Monday we wrote a check from one of our stateside bank accounts to our St. Croix account to cover some expenses. Today I looked at that stateside account online and found that the check I had transferred in St Croix had not cleared and I only had $1.24 in the account. Needless, to say the check I transferred was for more than $1.24. I went over and over the account and all of the online information and could not find the error, but had to get some money into the account quick. I called the Bank in the states and they were very helpful, transferred some money out of one of my accounts to cover this check until we can figure out where the error is. That taken care of.......

Today, August 25th is Rick's and my 31st Wedding Anniversary, he wanted to go out to dinner, somewhere nice, so we went and when it came time to pay we did not have the debit card from our account, of course, the restaurant did not want to take checks. I could not believe it, what is it with money lately. Anyway... Rachel was with us and she was in the bathroom during all of this, when she came back to the table and saw us with our "deer in the headlights" look, she asked what the problem was. When I told her I could not find my debit card, she remembered that I had put it in my camera case when we were out. Fortunately, I had my camera in my purse, and sure enough there it was. I was relieved but still wanted to scream

Now for the final "money matter", we have still not been paid. The only person who can write payroll checks for the USDA came back from Hawaii on Sunday, she was taking her daughter to college and apparently in sick(rumor has it that she is depressed about taking her daughter soooo far away to school) are you serious! The real kick is apparently she is the only person who can do the payroll and her supervisor told Rick he will just have to wait until she comes back. If this wasn't me, it might be hysterical. Actually I am just about hysterical and not in the ha ha hysterical way. Took a few deep breaths and decided there is absolutely nothing I can do about this, so I am not going to worry about it. Is this part of that "not my job mom" syndrome. If I wasn't living this, I'm not sure I would believe it.

Had a nice morning at the pool with Rachel and Macy. We were all going to go to the beach in the afternoon and then we had all of these $$$ crisis, so I opted to stay home and get on the phone and try to straighten everything out. Got it taken care of, the three caballeros went snorkeling and saw a sea turtle, just my luck, but I'm glad they had a good time.

Although there have been these little glitches through out the last few days, I have to say that I feel my Heavenly Father looking out for me and mine in that we have been able to resolve everything pretty easily and quickly. Maybe this is just a test to see how we will handle these situations, I sure do hope we are getting a passing grade. I WILL keep praying for strength to persevere and have faith.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yesterday we spent the day at home, we did spend about 5 or 6 hours at the pool but it was nice not to have to go anywhere. I kept coming back to the condo and switching laundry. It's amazing how much more there was with 2 extra people. With just Rick and I, I do a maximum of 3 loads a week but with Rachel and Macy here and the extra towels left from don it was more like 6 or 7. Anyway, it's all done.

Today we were supposed to get paid, can you believe it. the woman who does the payroll for one of these alphabet soup organizations(who is writing our check) was in Hawaii for a week and came home sick and hasn't been back to work yet and apparently no one else can do the payroll. Another "just shoot me" moment. Hopefully, tomorrow, we will have our first paycheck. It is interesting.
Unfortunately, it looks like we are going to have to turn our car(the Honda in the states) back to the bank. The guy we left it with to sell on his lot, took a month to even get it out on the lot for sale, and because there isn't a lot of commission attached to it, I don't think any of his salesmen are really pushing it. Also, because of our pay off, it is only a few thousand dollars under the "blue book" value so not such a "good deal". I hate to have to do this, but we would rather turn it back than to have the bank come looking for it and have it as a repossession. Either way, it will do wonders for our credit rating. Well, that's just one of those things that I can't worry about. Both Rick and I feel bad about the fact that it seems dishonorable to go back on that car loan, but we are out of options.

We went to a new beach today. This one has a small inshore reef, that you can easily get beyond and the snorkeling was real good. We were out in the surf and really be battered around, for some reason that made me feel a little panicky. I wanted to go in and wanted Rick to go with me, when Rachel found some cool coral formations, so I took a few deep breaths and went out to where she and Macy were to look at the coral, it was cool and I'm glad I stuck it out. On the way back I did see some "blues" and a parrot fish, so that also made it worth it. I really want to get better at snorkeling and not get into a panic situation again. Not sure if it was the surf or what, will need to work on that.

Spent a quiet evening at home, watched "Alice in Wonderland" and played some Bananagram(just like speed Scrabble). It was nice. Rachel was telling Macy that they only have three more days here. The first week of their visit was pleasant and really didn't seem to fly by, but this week sure has. I think they would both like to stay longer and we wouldn't mind having them, but such is life that they do need to get back.

Rick and I need to get back into a routine, it will be different now that he is working, but a routine is good all the same. We were doing so good with our daily scripture reading and between, the job and company that has been a challenge. It's amazing how much better I feel about everything when we spend that type of time together. I do need to keep praying for patience and perseverance in all things.

Going to post a few pictures. One if of the St Croix ground lizard or Green Iguana. This guy was about 3 feet long. I think they are harmless but still I don't want to run into one in a dark alley. The others are at the Tamarind Resort Beach(where we snorkeled today).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Trying hard to keep up with the blog, but I am tired. I find it has been easier to write in the morning when everyone is still asleep. Well actually it's only Rachel who is still asleep, Rick is at work and Macy is up with me watching morning cartoons.

Yesterday, at church, I think my Relief Society lesson went well. I'm never real sure how my teaching is received, people are very polite but sometimes I think that is all. Rachel stayed through all three hours, but I think maybe she was just being polite. I know the heat is hard on her(I have mentioned that the church is not air conditioned didn't I). Anyway...for me, church was good, I really needed the spiritual battrey recharge.

Rick and I have been out of our routine and we tired and crabby. I love having Rachel and Macy here, so I need to find a way to cope better. At least now that Don has gone home, Rachel is moving a little slower too. I'm hoping she can go home well rested and not exhausted.

The Mission President is coming over on Thursday to set Rick apart in his calling and then he is holding a training for the Branch Leadership. I'm torn between wanting to be there and feeling a need to be there, but not wanting to abandon Rachel and Macy on their second to last night here. I'll have to keep praying about it and see where the Spirit leads.

Posting a few more pictures of the kids visit here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday morning and getting ready for church. This is our one day with a few hours of air conditioning. I know this is going to sound crazy, but we really don't like the shut up feeling of having the air on all of the time, and electricity is real expensive here, so we just have the patio doors and windows thrown open wide most days, but on Sunday mornings when we are getting ready for church we give ourselves a few hours of air conditioning in the bedroom. Makes it easier to get "all dressed up" and face sitting in church with no air conditioning if you at least start out nice and cool.

I'm teaching the lesson in Relief society toady. It's titled "Help them on their way home", about our responsibility to help children and young people, both inside our families and out stay well founded in the Gospel. This will be challenging.

Don went home yesterday but the girls have another week here with us. I'm afraid that this week is going to fly by. It has been so much fun to have Macy here I will hate to see her leave. I'll miss Rachel too, but I really miss not being around Macy as much as I was able to be in the past.

Well if I'm able I am going to post some of the pictures of Rick's new office. As you can see, the new job is really rough for him. He has to go out to this "salt mine" every morning for a few hours and check on the progress the contractor is making and then come home and write up a report. I'm not sure how he can do it. The sacrifice is so great! HA!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Can you say crab races? We took Macy to the crab races on Monday night in downtown Christiansted and my crab "Moses" won us a dinner at the Caribbean BBQ at the Divi resort. It was great, because Rachel and Don wanted to go, but we couldn't really afford it, so winning it made it possible for all of us to go. The dinner and show(Mocko Jumbies) was fun, made even better by the fact that it was free.

So....we went to the crab races again tonight, nobody won, but we had a good time. The pictures above are of Macy, at the races, of course, and the other two are the crabs themselves. They are Hermit Crabs, pretty small, for the most part and they scare easily, so you have to be real still, any quick movements and they stop and pull into their shells. they have great prizes and a treasure chest of toys, so that at the end all of the kids get a prize.

Went to the beach on Protestant Cay(pronounced key) today. It's called Protestant Cay, because years ago, Protestants weren't allowed to bury their dead on St. Croix, so they buried them on the Cay. Anyway... it was fun, but not the greatest beach, so far Cane Bay and Sunset Beach in Fredricksted are the top two, the beach at the Divi Resort is probably number three. We have been having a great time visiting all the different beaches but I am absolutely pickled after spending so much time in the ocean. Maybe this weekend we will stick to the pool for a day or two. Don flies home tomorrow but the girls get to stay another week.

Finished reading the Book of Mormon today. I really love Moroni, every time I read Moroni 10:4 I remember how I felt the very first time I read this passage. Very important to my personal conversion. I'm not sure where I will go next, probably just keep on and read the Doctrine and Covenants, I'm always a little sad when I finish the Book of Mormon. Don't know why, I could just read it again.

This week with the kids here has been interesting. It does make me grateful for family but also grateful for my new life here on St. Croix. I'm not sure how to explain that, but I have to admit that every day I wake up and look out the patio doors and see the Caribbean and think just how grateful I am to be here. I do wish my family could be closer and I do wish they could experience what I am experiencing. It's hard to put into words. I keep praying that any of you who read this will have the courage to live your lives out loud. I'll keep praying for you, keep praying for me, keep praying in gratitude, oh and pray for our world too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Waiting for Rachel to download the pictures of Rick's new office. She and Don went with him yesterday to check out the job site and she took some pictures but hasn't downloaded them into my compute yet, will try to get them on by tomorrow. You'll see how rough his life is.

Finished reading Either this morning have to admit I fell a little behind in my Book of Mormon reading withe the kids here and all, but back to Either, what an incredibly sad story. The parallels of the Book of Mormon to our time are incredible, it was definitely written for us. It's amazing just how dumb people can be. If the whole world only knew. You know, I figured a long time ago(of course, not long enough) that if we each would listen to the previous generation(our parents) and not make the same mistakes that they did, we of course would make some new mistakes, but then if our children listened to us and so on and so on we would truly be on the road to perfection. But....the natural man is so dumb he insists on making the same mistakes over and over again and not learning anything. They say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different out come each time is the definition of insanity, Well there you go, the world has gone insane. Are you surprised, I'm not, just trying not to go there myself. I suppose the first change we need to make is with ourselves and hope for the best.

Tonight, we go to the Beach BBQ at the Divi Resort and see the Mocko Jumbies. It should be fun. My crab won, at the crab races the other night(only cost me $2 for the crab) so I got a free ticket to the dinner tonight, that sure helped out the budget, now we only have to buy one(or Rick could stay home, just kidding). We'll get paid next week, YEAH, it's been a while. Going back to the beach again today, more snorkeling, hope for good weather.

Keep praying, especially for your families, maybe we can all get on that road to perfection, better late than never!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My last post was from Monday morning and here it is Tuesday night. I have been worn out, I forgot what it was like to keep up with a 4 year old. Macy is still bouncing off the walls, she is so excited to be here. Rachel has been taking pictures, so I have some to download. The one to the left is Miss Macy in all her Caribbean splendor.

I hope I can get these pictures to line up right. I had mentioned that Macy learned to snorkel. Well today at Chenay Bay, she went out into the deep with her Mom, Papa and me and we even say a starfish. This next picture to the right is of her practicing snorkeling in the pool.

Ok, they aren't exactly lining up the way I had hoped but you get the idea. Tonight we had fresh Caribbean lobster for dinner(a treat from Don & Rachel). Check out the size of these guys.

Well we are having a good time and enjoying one another's company. Don and Rachel got lined up to go Deep Sea Fishing on Thursday, so we will have Macy all to ourselves. We are gonna have some fun.

Keep praying especially for all of our families.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Been a little preoccupied lately, Macy, Rachel and Don got here on Friday night and we have been having too much fun. It is so great to have them here. I can tell Rachel is in heaven. The beach, the pool the tropical splendor, what more can you ask for. Macy is still bouncing off the walls. Don, who is our "non-water" person seems to be having the time of his life. We had to drag him out of the Caribbean on Saturday when we went to the beach.

Saturday we took then to the beach at Cane Bay,had a great time. We bought Macy some snorkel gear and she took to it like a fish to water. Of course, like her mother she is part fish. She really doesn't swim well enough to snorkel yet, but we had bought her a life jacket and with it on she can float on her tummy with her face in the water and kick along. It is incredible to watch her, she is delighted with the fact that she can have her face completely in the water and still breathe. Her goal is to see an octopus.

Yesterday, Rick and I got up and were getting ready for church, the Thorp's were still asleep, so we were preparing to leave them a note, when Rachel came up and asked to borrow a skirt and a shirt for Don cause they wanted to go with us. We had never said a word. We were so excited. Then at church the spirit was so strong. The two sisters who spoke had talks tailor made for them. It was wonderful. Rachel and Don did go home after Sacrament Meeting but I think they were touched by the meeting. Macy of course, stayed for all the meetings with us, she made some new friends in Primary.

Things seem to be changing in the Branch, ever so slowly, but changing in a positive way. I don't really believe that is because of us or anything we have done, but there has been a real collective effort to get things on track here and everyone is responding. It's a beautiful thing to see and even more awesome to be a part of. Our Branch President is a totally spiritual person and he is the force spearheading these changes but the members are truly in tune.

Rick has to go to work(boy oh boy, does that sound good) this morning but should be home by noon and we'll be off to another beach. I guess we'll just have to content ourselves with the pool in the morning. Can you tell I'm really having fun!

Keep praying, I promise you those prayers will be answered. Maybe not in exactly the way you think but they will be answered and most times in a way that is better than anything you could have imagined.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yesterday was a mostly boring day. We did go to Scripture Study Class at the Meeting House. They are studying the Book of Mormon and it is helpful to read together and get other peoples insight on what we have read . Not many there today, some came late, apparently there is road construction going on at the center of the island that is slowing everyone down.

Rick is working but mostly from home and he is antsy to really get started. Today, Friday, they had their pre-construction meeting at the site. Apparently the plans aren't very good and they will be designing as they go. Probably more work for Rick but I don't think he minds. All these months of basically being idle are starting to get to him. He is anxious to work. I am anxious for him to work and our bank account is really anxious for him to work. We won't see a paycheck until about 24 Aug, but I think we can make it. It would have been nice to have some extra $$$ while the kids are here, but that does not seem to be the way our life is going to go. Oh well we will be alright, the beach and the pool are free.

Speaking of the kids, we are anxious for them to get here. Their plane is supposed to land about 8:30pm tonight. Rachel said she would call before they left this morning, I suggested they call before they left Dallas, because at the next stop, San Juan, PR their cell phones get expensive, but we haven't heard. KIDS! I really can't wait to see my little girlfriend Macy. In her whole life, this is the longest I have gone without seeing her.

Not sorry that we are here on St. Croix, but being so far away, really makes family seem so much more important. I am so grateful to be sealed to my husband and daughters for time an all eternity. I do so wish that Rachel could have that for her family too. I know she really doesn't know what she is missing and how important it is. I have worried for some time about Macy not being sealed to anyone, but it has been explained to me that she would be sealed to us through her mother as a connecting link. Hopefully if her parents don't get their act together she will be sealed to her spouse one day and continue that link into eternity. The same goes for her little sister who isn't here yet. I wish everyone could have the comfort of knowing that they are sealed to their loved ones for time and all eternity and the sure knowledge that they can be together with their families after death. It certainly doesn't minimize the pain of losing a loved one, but it is easier for me knowing that I can see my parents again. The blessing of the Temple are real.

I need to keep praying that my daughters will both realize how important Temple worship is and get themselves there and get there often. I hope they will realize how important it is to instill a love of the Temple in their children. I hope my grandchildren will stay strong and continue on, raising righteous families. I will remember to remember this in my prayers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Computer running really slow and acting up. Gonna make this quick before I get the "boot". Rainy day, on and off, Rick is working but for now mostly from home. I'm busy trying to get everything caught up so we can enjoy our time with the kids.

Keep praying, keep reading(especially the Book of Mormon) and always keep on the straight and narrow. It's the way Home!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today I was a slug. Did do some things around the house in preparation for Rachel, Don and Macy's visit. Rick and I had a long discussion about the trip to Florida in September, we really can't afford to take it, we need at least another month and maybe more to catch up. We have decided to try to work with Worldmark and see what we can do to move the time in the condo. We'll see what happens with that.

I mentioned in my blog a few days ago that I have been reading the Book of Mormon. I also mentioned that I have been reading it more like a novel, just going right on through, well today I have been reading 3rd Nephi. I had forgotten how much I love this particular Book. In just a really short space the Savior teaches everything necessary(actually everything He taught in Palestine during His three year Mission) to the Nephites on this continent(well in the Americas). It is so clear and concise, completely straight forward. I love how He teaches the people in such a loving manner, especially the children.

Rick and I are reading the Old Testament, one chapter at a time(we should bet through it is a couple of years) for our family scripture study. It is difficult to read, difficult to understand, just plain difficult all around. I really have trouble keeping the "time line" straight because the books are not chronological. We do discuss what we have read and I hope I'm getting more out of it than I think. It is definitely not as plain and straight forward as the Book of Mormon.

It does help to pray(you were wondering if I was going to get that in weren't you) when reading and studying the scriptures. I find that when I pray before hand for a better understanding and afterward for enlightenment things do seem a little clearer. I need to get back to having strictly prayers of gratitude(I can't seem to help but ask for something) as I do really feel as though I have so much to be grateful for.

Getting excited about the kids visit. They will be here on Friday night. Can't wait to see Miss Macy in person and hold her in my arms. I have really missed her.

Keep praying for and over everything.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Went to post last night and couldn't get on the internet. Such is life in the islands. Sunday was a busy day for us. Members of the Mission Presidency were here and Rick has been called as the Elder's Quorum President for the St. Croix Branch, it will be challenging but he is ready to get to work. We had a nice meal at the Branch after meetings but by the time we got home I was absolutely melted. Took a nice Sunday nap and we spent a quiet evening together.

We had a busy Monday, We are "legal" here in the VI. Went and had our car titled in our name, inspected and registered. Also, got our VI Drivers Licenses. Everyone prepared us for a long wait at the BMV(Bureau of Motor Vehicles instead of DMV for Department of Motor Vehicles, as it is in the states) and it really wasn't so bad. They are very careful here that you are who you say you are(always worried about identity theft) and they make sure you have a valid drivers license and insurance before they will register or title a car for you. Isn't that a novel idea. You have to produce your "documents", passport, previous drivers license, etc, etc. There is no messing around here, you have to be a legal citizen, you have to have a valid drivers license(if you want to drive or even own a vehicle) and you have to have insurance. Now how hard is this. All this fuss about Arizona, illegal aliens and documentation, it's really not such a big deal. If you are legal and on the up and up, what's the big problem. If you are a criminal well then you have a problem, but why should it be mine or the state in which I might reside. Wake up people, this is a problem that needs fixing. You don't need no more criminals coming into the US. Personally, I don't have a problem with people who want to immigrate to the US, but do it right, and make an effort to learn the language of the country.

Enough of that soap box stuff. Rick also started work today. Boy did that feel good, to both of us. He is excited about this job and I think it will be good for him and our future. Of course, because this is a limited contract he keeps looking, but for now we are content to do a good job for these people.

Really got me back to thinking about gratitude and just how much I have to be grateful for. We both met with and were interviewed by the members of the Mission Presidency on Saturday and Sunday and I was struck by the genuine concern they have for the people of St. Croix. It's that love and concern that makes you want to really do your very best at whatever they ask you to do. It makes you want to have and show that same love and concern for the people you are responsible for. It makes me grateful to have people for whom I am responsible.

I have felt a lot of gratitude for my family lately. My parents who are no longer here with us, but who really gave me such a good foundation. They gave me freedom and some of the eagerness for adventure that has led us here to St. Croix. I'm grateful for my children and especially my grandchildren and the unconditional love they shower upon us. I'm grateful for extended family and our ancestors who made some difficult choices that took them far from the familiar but again placed us in a position to find our way to each other and the Gospel and a happiness that I can't explain. And finally I am grateful for so many friends scattered all over the country who pray for us, encourage us and just in general support us in so many ways. I'm also grateful for those family and friends who keep up with me via email and Facebook. I have a friend who asks the most provocative questions on Facebook, things like what is your pet peeve and what are your excited about. I am really grateful to her for making me think about those things.

Well Rick and I are going to have Family Home Evening and enjoy each others company, so I had better close tonight. Just want to say that I hope any of you who are reading this can think about what your are grateful for and try to add to that list daily. Oh and keep praying!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

We had a nice day today. Went to the other side of the island to Fredriksted. Today is cruise ship day, every other Saturday the cruise ship comes to Fredriksted. There are street vendors, selling all kind of interesting things and great entertainment. It was pretty hot over there, but we had a nice time looking around at all of the items and enjoying some great music.

After that we headed over to the meeting house, where Rick has a meeting with a member of the Mission Presidency. Apparently, they are trying to decide what to do with Rick. The Branch Presidency has basically told him that they put his name forth to be the Elders Quorum President, but in our interviews today with President Colon, he still seemed to be deciding. We are so grateful for everything we have been given, I know Rick is ready to do whatever they ask.

I'm pretty tired and we got a call later this evening that we need to be at church about 40 minutes early (I guess they have decided what they want him to do), so I better pack it in and go to bed. Remember to keep praying.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Yesssssssssssss! We have a car, we have a job. Ain't life grand. Funny how a few little things can change your attitude. Well it was an interesting day. Had to wait(shocking, I know) for the wire transfer of $$$, then we went to the bank with the car owner, got her the money, went to the insurance company(they only wanted a pint), I have been driving for 43 years and never before has anyone asked me the year I first got a drivers license. This is for liability only insurance on a 13 year old car. We were literally there for over an hour, filling out forms and we still have to go back with a copy of the registration, title in our name and our drivings records from the state of Idaho. Yeah, can you believe it. If insurance in the States took this comprehensive a look at their clientele maybe we would have lower rates and only the good drivers on the road. Also, you can't get your car registered or have the title transferred into your name without showing proof that you already have insurance. There's a good one for the States. Anyway...we will finish up with the registration, title transfer and our VI drivers licenses (can't wait to see what I have to produce to get that, maybe they will want my firstborn, I might be willing to turn her over) on Monday. I will take some pictures of our "island car" and post them tomorrow.

Rick will start work on Monday and we can expect a paycheck about the 24th of August. Almost can't imagine what that will feel like. Not only have we been waiting 2 months in the VI for a job, it has been a while since he had any kind of regular paycheck in the States. We are excited.

Then right before we were going out the door to pick up our car, a friend in Idaho called and she wants our freezer. This is excellent news. One down, one to go, just need to sell that piano. Would be nice if we could get it done before Rachel leaves to come down here(August 13th). We'll have to see what can happen. Gotta keep praying.

We were pretty busy running around all afternoon. Went and did a little grocery shopping, the cupboard was pretty bare, what with no car for almost a week. Can't shop here like I did in Idaho. Things don't keep too long, so for fresh things you need to go every few days. While we were riding from the bank to the store and home again, in our cool air conditioned car, I could not help but reflect on just how blessed we have been. Sure there have been some trying times, I could refer back to blog such and such, just to name a few, but over all everyone has been so good to us, our Heavenly Father has watched over us and sent those of you who have cared for us so tenderly to be our angels. There have been many tremendous friends here on St. Croix and so many of you back in the States offering encouragement and praying for us. Could not have done it without you.

I have been reading the Book of Mormon and reading it like I would a novel, several chapters each day, and it is truly an amazing story. It really comes to life when you read it like you would any other story and not just pick at it, a few verses every so often. I challenge any of you reading this(meaning this blog) to try it. See the story of these noble people unfold and realize that they are so much like us. See what we can learn from their mistakes and successes. See if we can advance ourselves on the road to perfection any quicker. It's worth a try and you know it can't hurt.

Well I am tired tonight, but it's a good tired. Tired from a full day and not just a day full of frustration. Tomorrow Rick has a meeting with someone from the Mission Presidency, so maybe he will have a calling in the St. Croix Branch, I hope so, he needs something to do in the Church(something official).
Last night I was a real slug, I don't know what came over me, but I was hot and tired. I went to bed at 9:30 to cool off and that was the end of it. I actually slept until 7 this morning, so I must have been tired. Can't imagine from what, I did almost nothing yesterday. I'll try to make it up in posts today.

Well we are almost there. Rick's contract is in the office waiting for him to sign. We have made a deal on a car and found a very generous friend to made us a loan. Waiting for the wire transfer of the money today and we will pick up the car, run in a circle three times(that's what you have to do here to get it registered) and go the the USDA office so Rick can sign the contract and GO TO WORK. We also need to get our VI driver's licenses, so we are completely legal. YESSSSSSSSS.

Still having to be patient as we wait for the wire transfer, but it is actually happening. I will be so relieved when Rick has that first day of work under his belt and I think he will be too.

We are swimming in gratitude for all the help we have been given. It gives me pause, to think that so often when we accomplish something we think we have done such a good job, when really almost all of our accomplishments are a joint effort, over a number of years, of countless people. This experience of the last two months has truly taught me that. I hope I can hold onto these thoughts and make them my philosophy because, I know it's true. Daily in my prayers I thank my Heavenly Father for everything I have because I know that all that we do have, including the air that we breathe comes from him, but until recently have I acknowledged that my accomplishments are for the most part a joint effort by many people, including my parents who taught me so much and those numerous people who are still teaching me today. Many by their quiet example . I will try to remember to be more grateful to everyone who is a part of my life.

We are still looking to sell our upright freezer and our piano. If any of you who regularly read my blog, in the Idaho Falls area, know of anyone who is in the market for either of these items please email me at: rbbyrem@aol.com. We left the freezer and piano with our daughter in Ririe. The freezer is an upright, it's older but in perfect working condition and the interior is in excellent shape. On the exterior the handle is broken off(this happened when it was about 6 months old as our daughter and some of her friends were swinging on it, yeah and we even let her live). Anyway, this handle has never been a problem, we just open it from the top our the side. Actually our daughter's freezer, didn't even come with a handle, you just open it from the top or the side. Anyway we are asking $250 for it as a new one, the same size is between $600 & $800.

The piano is an Upright Console. It is in perfect condition muscially(it will need to be tuned, but they really need to be tuned every time you move them, "real" musicians generally have their pianos tuned annually) and the cabinet (furniture) is in excellent condition. It is a Conn(brand) Piano. I did some homework on the internet and they are valued at $2000 to $2200, we are asking $1500. I had really been hoping that it went to a family with kids who could learn on it and enjoy it the way we have, but frankly whoever comes up with the $$$ can have it.

We need the $$$$ and our daughter needs to be done with these things, so we are making every effort to sell them in the next week. Our daughter is leaving on Friday, August 13th to come down here for a visit, and will be here for 2 weeks, so we are sincerely hoping that we can sell these items before then. Any, help you can be will be greatly appreciated. Remember email me at rbbyrem@aol.com and I can call the interested party, or you can call my cell (208)604-4799 (that's an Idaho number, so it does not cost you anything extra to call it here in the VI)

Oh and we will keep praying!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today is a 2fer. I blogged this morning, cause who ever knows when we will have service and then I thought I would put down some random thoughts tonight.

Well we still have no contract, not car, no fun. Supposedly the contract is all signed and Rick will be told where to go tomorrow to sign and he can start work, if he can get there that is. Well he can walk into town to sign the contract, it won't necessarily be fun, but it can be done. Starting work will be another matter.

We found a car, gonna sleep on it and pray about it but I think it might be it. It's a 1997 Infinity, a pretty classy car in it's day, a little worn now but, it's only $2500, if we can borrow $3,000 to cover the insurance and inspection and registration, I think we can get it. The only place to go for the money is the local loan sharks(Express Financial, not really loan sharks, but they might as well be) the interest is like a credit card (expensive) but if things go well we can pay this off in a year or less and that should make it more bearable. We, of course, have to have the signed contract,(everything here seems to be a chicken or the egg proposition) to prove employment, to apply for the loan and they say that they can turn it around in one day(that will be a first). If even the loan sharks won't lend to us, we're back to square one, but I just know that something will work out.

I'm really having my faith tested here, but I actually hope that I'm getting stronger. Been reading a lot lately and after just so many novels with a sprinkling of scripture, I thought, if I can read 700+ pages a week in a novel, surely I can read the 510 pages of the Book of Mormon again(not to mention the fact that you need a drivers license-local one-to get a library card and I can't afford a drivers license, right now,nor can I afford any more paper back books) so I have been diligently reading my book of Mormon and I am once again proved correct in thinking that all the answers to life are in there. You have to be patient and really read, study and guess what, pray about what you read, but all the answers are there. It also makes me feel better. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy the novels, but they don't make me feel better.

I am grateful for all that I have. I know that I have a really good husband. The last two weeks have been real hard on both of us, but believe it or not we are closer than we ever have been. I am grateful for my testimony, it is what keeps me going. I am grateful for so many wonderful friends, some very new ones and some very old. Ever notice how some people you seem to recognize their Spirit and they yours and your are friends almost instantly. I am most grateful to be here on St. Croix, this has been such an amazing two months and even though a lot harder that I ever imagined, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am grateful for all of the people we have met and being able to witness their experiences. I am grateful for my family even though they have not all supported us wholeheartedly, I love them more and more each day. In short I am truly grateful. guess that's why I needed to write a second time today, to have the opportunity to express that.